Francois Ozon’s Peter von Kant, a free adaptation of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s 1972 masterpiece The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant, will open the 2022 Berlin International Film Festival.

Ozon’s adaptation gender-flips the lead role, turning Petra into Peter, played here by Inglourious Basterds actor Denis Menochet. Isabelle Adjani and Fassbinder regular Hanna Schygulla co-star.

The film marks a double return for Ozon. The French director’s 2000 drama Water Drops on Burning Rocks, another Fassbinder adaptation, was his first to screen in Berlin. Peter von Kant will mark his sixth Berlinale appearance. In 2019, Ozon won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize for his Catholic abuse drama By the Grace of God. His star-studded comedy 8 Women took the Silver Bear for Outstanding Artistic Contribution at the 2002 Berlinale and will be screened again this year as part of Berlin’s tribute to French actress Isabelle Huppert.

Peter von Kant will kick off the 72nd Berlinale on Feb. 10 and will screen in competition.

“We are beyond thrilled to welcome back François Ozon to the festival and are happy to launch our next edition with his new film,” said Berlinale artistic director Carlo Chatrian. “For this year’s opening, we were looking for a film that could bring lightness and verve into our somber daily lives. Peter von Kant is a theatrical tour de force around the concept of lockdown. In the hands of Ozon, the kammerspiel [chamber drama] becomes the perfect container for love and jealousy, seduction and humour – indeed, everything that makes life and art so entangled.”

“It is such a pleasure and honor to return to Berlin, where I only have great memories, 22 years after the premiere of Water Drops on Burning Rocks, adapted from Rainer Werner Fassbinder,” said Ozon.  “The Berlin International Film Festival is the ideal place to discover Peter von Kant, which celebrates my attachment as a French director to German culture.”

Produced by French group FOZ, Peter von Kant will have its world premiere in Berlin. Playtime is handling international sales.

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